In addition to helping in
disease-prevention, a healthy diet may enhance the well-being of people on the shorter
term. Diet high in fibre and low in fat reduces the risk of being overweight and of
suffering from constipation, and helps maintain the desirable blood glucose levels.
BOWEL FUNCTION AND CONSTIPATION
Avoid Constipation with Whole Grain Rye!
Rye fibre increases faecal volume and
reduces the intestinal transit time. This promotes proper bowel function and prevents
Dietary fibre is not digested in the upper gastrointestinal tract of
humans. Depending on the baking process, part of the starch in rye bread may also be
resistant to digestion in the small intestine, and may reach the large intestine where it
is fermented by the colonic bacteria. The amount of this so-called resistant starch is
1-2% and it increases the total amount of fermentable carbohydrates (Hansen et al. 1988).
Rye fibre increases the faecal weight because the unfermentable residue maintains its
In a study of Gråsten et al. (2000), two groups of people consumed rye bread or wheat bread in an amount
equivalent to 20% of their daily energy intake. The fibre intake in the rye bread group
was about 15 g/day more than in the wheat bread group. The consumption of rye bread
improved bowel function: The faecal weight increased, the transit time became shorter and
faecal evacuation frequency increased during the rye bread period. Intake of rye bread
also decreased the levels of certain enzymes in faeces, which may reduce the formation of
potentially carcinogenic compounds. In a study of McIntosh et al. (2003) rye foods
appeared to be more effective in overall improvement of bowel health
than whole-wheat and low-fibre foods. This was suggested to be
due to the 50 % higher arabinoxylan content in rye as compared to
that in wheat.
The preventive effect of rye fibre on constipation is due to the increased faecal weight,
shorter intestinal transit time and softer faeces. High-fibre rye bread is recommended in
the treatment of constipation. The simultaneous consumption of probiotic yoghurt relieves
the possible adverse gastrointestinal effects associated with increased intake of dietary
fibre (Niemi et al. 1998; MacFarlane et al. 1991).
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